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Episode 9 of By the Waters of Babylon Podcast – Thanksgiving: The Primary Worship Response

In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln established an annual national holiday of Thanksgiving to be observed on the last Thursday in November. Most of us look forward to this holiday, a day on which we eat good food, enjoy time with family and friends, and perhaps watch some football. And we will probably set aside at least a little time to thank the Lord.

We all likely recognize the importance of being thankful. We tell our kids to say “Thank you” when they are given something, and we generally try to be grateful ourselves.

But how many of us really see gratitude as an important part of our worship? How many of us consider thankfulness to be a truly significant expression we offer to God? If I were to ask most Christians what kinds of expressions of worship bring God the most glory, I would probably hear things like praise, love, and joy more than I would hear gratitude.

However, in this episode I explain why I believe gratitude to be an extremely important—if not the most important—expression of worship toward God that brings ultimate glory to him.

I also recommend a hymn that expresses thanksgiving to God, “Father, We Thank Thee,” based on the second-century eucharistic prayer in the Didache.

Finally, I explain why thanksgiving was naturally connected to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper in early Christian services.

I pray this episode will be edifying for you!

Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

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